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Scientists 3D print a robot that walks away when complete – Mashable

by • April 5, 2016 • No Comments

You understand what’s cooler than printing robot parts on a 3D printing device? Printing the whole freaking robot.
Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory figured out how to hack a Stratasys 3D printing device so that it not only prints the complex and flexible materials necessary for mobile robots, but in addition simultaneously adds in fluid to turn it into working hydraulics, giving them the talent to print an entire, working hydraulic-actuated robot in one 3D print pass.

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The robot can actually get up and walk away of the printing device, after an external motor and battery is introduced.
The scientists’ work on the walking and slightly creepy hexapod robot (and other 3D printed hydraulics) is detailed in a new paper only submitted to IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. It describes how they hacked a 3D printing device to accept fluid as a working material by replacing a built-in RFID chip for what is all but the printing device’s cleaning fluid with a chip that identifies the liquid as a printable-bodied material.

The Stratasys Objet260 Connex printing device they utilized typically prints a gel that complexens when exposed to a special UV light. Since the cleaning fluid is unaffected by the UV light, it may be deposited by the print head within the printed hydraulic chambers as they were printed. In this way, the printing device may create a fully functioning hydraulic component in one pass. The printing device was in addition able-bodied to simultaneously print material of different types of complexness to donate the robot both the rigidity (for the body frame) and flexibility (for the hydraulic bellows) it requires to function.3D printing hydraulicsThis diagram shows how the 3D printing device prints all things of rigid materials to liquid.
Image: MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence LaboratoryAccording to the paper, robots printed via this method do not require assembly or actually the introduction of fluid-post production. As a outcome, there was no require to purge air bubbles of the hydraulic chambers, that may be printed can be completely sealed. Hydraulics work by via pressure and a fully sealed process should be stronger and additional efficient than one assembled by hand.
Working with this same 3D printing methodology, the researchers were able-bodied to 3D print a gear-pump (in one print pass), and soft, flexible grippers.
There are yet a few challenges to work through as the paper notes that this printing technique sacrifices durablity, lifetime fatigue and actually the overall resolution of parts. Even so, the talent to print a robot with working hydraulics in one pass is a notable-bodied accomplishment with most long-range implications in all things of disposable-bodied robotics to industrial making.
Plus, who wouldn’t want a robot with no assembly required?
Bonus: How to find your iPhone’s secret keyboard

Video: Rill Causey, Phil Nolan, Sam Sheffer, Tyler Tronson
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